Confidence & Success
Illustration by Edmon de Haro for The Atlantic
When I graduated from college, my dad gave me the book Women Don’t Ask, and I must admit that, while I appreciated the gesture and understood why he gave it to me, I never read it. It just didn’t seem like a fun read, you know? But I should have, and I’m putting it on my to-do list, because it’s true: if you don’t ask, you’ll never know. And if you ask and are told no, you are no worse off than you were before…In fact, I’d wager you’re better off because you at least started a conversation and got the ball rolling. Now you know what you need to do to get to that ‘yes.’ I’ve been thinking about this a lot recently – this topic of going after what you want and making things happen for yourself – so it was fortuitous that I came across this article recently called “The Confidence Gap” via The Atlantic, and I wanted to share it here with you.
“Success, it turns out, correlates just as closely with confidence as it does with competence.”
According to the article, researchers have found (and I think it seems pretty obvious) that it’s not competence or merit differences between men and women that are keeping women from the top earning jobs or from getting higher raises – its a lack of confidence and the fear of simply asking. I am sure anyone – man or woman – who has seen more outwardly confident peers get farther, faster in the workplace can relate to at least some of these findings. I know, much to my chagrin, that I have been guilty of lacking confidence at work (even when I am confident outside of it). Thankfully, this bad habit has faded as I’ve gained experience and maturity, although there is always room for improvement.
This article was really motivational for me in that it was a good reminder to go after what I want, nay – what I deserve, and not settle. Sometimes, you just have to learn as you go and trust that you are good enough and smart enough to do a good job. In the end, taking risks and making mistakes is eons better than doing nothing or always taking the safe route.
That said, it’s time to give ourselves permission to make mistakes and go after what we want. Life is too short not to.